Ruth Pruiett - Memories
During the War Years, everything was rationed. Everyone was issued ration books. Shortly after Ralph and I met, I met his family, including his Sister's Mother-in-law and her two daughters, Thelma and Roberta Iredale. Her Sister-in-law, Thelma lived just up the street from the hospital and she took me under her wing, so to speak. She helped me with sewing and making some of my clothes. Since I would go up to her apartment and be there for meals often as not, I let her keep my ration books.
But, one day in October, shortly after Ralph and I were married, my little bother, Charles came to visit me on his way to North Carolina to get married. He only had a few hours to spend with me and wanted to go downtown to walk around, have a coke and talk, etc. I had previously arranged with Big Thelma to go with her to visit the Pruiett's and Iredale's for the afternoon. So I left a message for her at the desk and took off with Charles. The next day, my ration books appeared in my mailbox and when I called Thelma at work, she was very cool and that was the end of our friendship. She never forgave me. She was a lovely person, but she could not understand my relationship with my little brother. Charles and Lucille Paquette were married in Ashville, North Carolina in October 1943. Their marriage lasted until his death in 1997. They raised a family of five children. Charles remained in the Air Force for 30 years.
I had been in Nursing School almost two years when Ralph and I were married. Staying in school instead of going to California to be with my husband was very tough. Everyone at school encouraged me to hang in there and tough it out, telling me that I had too much at stake to take off and leave. But Ralph and I wanted to be together and we tried to find a way for me to transfer to another school, but in the end we managed to keep it together and remain apart. Ralph managed to get furloughs for our six months and one-year anniversaries and so we made it through until I graduated and finished school in September of 1944.
Then I boarded a train in Cincinnati and headed for Wichita Falls, Texas. There Ralph had rented an apartment (what a place) and had spoken to a director of nurses at the Clinic Hospital, who gave me a job, sight unseen, starting as soon as I arrived in Texas. I became the Head Nurse of the Nursery, which consisted of seven beds, after a few weeks on the maternity ward. Our chief Ob-Gyn Doctor was a Dr. William Parker.
Our first apartment was three tiny rooms with a bathroom in the hallway outside our apartment. We had mice and had to keep all our food in the refrigerator or in the oven. We stayed there until the end of the year when Ralph was transferred to Denver, Colorado. While in Texas we had steak for dinner almost every day. When I talked to the butcher about his not taking any of my meat stamps, he always told me that he was selling me veal and veal didn't require stamps. It was really great veal! I did quite a bit of cooking there but Ralph told me that he hated mashed potatoes, so imagine my surprise when we came home on leave the first time together and his Mother was fixing mashed potatoes. I said that Ralph didn't like mashed potatoes and Mom Pruiett said that was news to her. I found out that he was afraid that if I made mashed potatoes, they would have lumps in them. Needless to say, I learned to make fluffy mashed potatoes.
When we moved to Denver, we had a very nice 3rd floor one-room apartment at 1118 Downing Street. It was efficiency plus. At this time, we became friends with a nice couple, Arthur and Betty Byrne. Ralph and Art worked together and Betty and I met on the train trip from Texas to Colorado. We learned that we all enjoyed playing bridge together, so when an apartment became available in their building at 1234 Stout Street in downtown Denver, we moved in. We stayed there until Ralph was transferred to Bowman Field in Louisville, Kentucky. We played bridge and ate together almost every night alternating apartments. We maintained a relationship of sorts for many years after this, exchanging Christmas cards and pictures of our children, etc. In fact we always planned to visit each other, but it just never happened. It was here, in Denver, that I became pregnant with my first son, Ralph Jr., or Buddy as we called him.
When we arrived in Louisville, I started doing private duty nursing and continued doing so when Ralph was transferred to Guam and I returned to Cincinnati. In those days I believe I made seven or eight dollars a day. I lived with Rose and Elmer again and managed to save most of my earnings. I believe I had around $500 saved when I got a bad cold in early November and had to come off a case. At this time I was about seven months pregnant and decided to retire until after my baby was born. Ralph was discharged from the Air Force in late December and returned to Cincinnati after being processed out at Camp Atterbury in Indiana. Bob, his brother had already been discharged, so he and Mom and Pop Pruiett picked Ralph up on an icy day, December 28, 1945. Ralph Jr. was born on January 17, 1946, becoming one of the first of a new generation of Baby Boomers, though we didn't know that at the time.